Friday, 26 December 2014
TIM DAVID HARVEY
"I perform like Mike/Any one, Tyson, Jordan, Jackson"-Notorious B.I.G. (Puff Daddy-Victory)
1990. When the clock struck 0.00 on January the 1st, leaving the eighties behind like mullets and Miami Vice rolled up suit sleeves, we where in for one hell of a heaven sent 10 years. The decade was dominated by a golden era in all things entertainment. From movies to music and sport to everything in between it even inspired and holds influence on what we see and hear today, a few days away from hitting 0.00 on a decade and a half of 15 unbelievable years into the new millennium. Sure whatever age and era you belong to you'll claim there was no time like your time, but even 70's and 80's babies know there was nothing like the nostalgic 90's. A time dinosaurs ruled the Hollywood world and Buzz Lightyear was the biggest selling, hottest off the shelf toy to find under your tree at Christmas. Now this year what's on T.V. this December 25th? 'Toy Story'! And what is one of the biggest and most anticipated movies of next year? The new 'Jurassic Park'! Go figure! Now through all the major moves and big blockbusters of a decade that illuminated more than Times Square, there where two men who defined this age, theirs and everything else around them and the years that came before and after them. One silhouette spun and worked his feet like the greatest dancer you've ever seen. The other left everyone around him falling at his feet as he hit the deck. One hit the high notes as the other soared and scored. The first one jumping into the silhouette of a man holding a basketball like the torch of the Statue of Liberty. The second leaving everyone stunned as he took one small step for man and a giant leap for music-kind as he moonwalked away from them.
The King of Pop. The King of the Rock. Michael and M.J. M.J. and Mike. Two of the greatest of all-time. Especially in entertainment. As for their loves of basketball and music. They didn't just change the game...they transcended it. Cultural phenomenon's. Global icons. If Mars really attacked like 'Independence Day' then we would have had to take them to two of our leaders. Two who we'll never see anyone quite like. Never duplicated. The original, genuine articles. Every newspaper read their name, front and back. Radios and television sets you couldn't escape them if you where tuned in. Imagine if the internet was as much an influence then as it is now. Social media may be the age now, but back then it was their time. Dominant isn't even the word for this decade they devastated...in the most dominant way. One with a number 23. The other with a silver glove. They both moved like nothing you've seen before. One across the floor like he was walking on the same air the other flew through. They where both so big in music and sport they had to come together and collaborate. For themselves they even made movies. From 'Space Jam' to 'Moonwalker'. They both had famous friends that they could count on, from Chris Tucker to Spike Lee's Mars Blackmon. Even R. Kelly bridged their mainstream gap between the city of Chicago and music. Showing Jackson that he wasn't alone and proving the belief that Jordan could fly. Still nobody took it higher than these guys. As all the people, still to this day trying to imitate from the streetball to the corner can almost authentically attest. These perfect pairs best moments still play today like retirement and death was just the end of a movie. Their golden eras still shine. Even their records break records. Others may come. From Prince to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to Bruno Mars. But none are chosen quite like this.
Before their time came the wonder years. When Michael Jordan was a boy he was swinging baseball bats with his father as well as hanging from rims (eventually Jordan would retire from basketball for a year to pursue his late fathers dream of him playing baseball to honour him after his death). Meanwhile a young Michael Jackson was singing with his brothers in Jackson 5 to the tune of 'Rocky Robin' and their own animated, television show. Becoming a megastar already behind tracks like 'I Want You Back' and his youthful matured and poignantly haunting rendition of 'Aint No Sunshine' that still resonates today. As little Mike, Tito and co grew into the maturing Jackson's they blamed it on the boogie as everybody could feel it from the Four Tops to the Commodores. As these guys graduated so did the other Michael after years of the Baby Blue in North Carolina. Years that saw him earn the tar on the heels of his sneakers by hitting game winners and the buzz of the hype that came from high school and would continue after the NBA draft where this new school guy began educating everybody starting with Sam Bowie. The eighties where this pairs coming out party. Where they'd show the whole world exactly what they had more in store of. In fact this was their decade too...especially for one of the Michael's. Jordan was busy winning dunk contests, whether during All-Star weekend or not. All whilst showing the Los Angeles Lakers' Magic Johnson and the Boston Celtics' Larry Bird that there was a new kid in town. Even hitting an incredible 63 youthful points in the legendary Boston Garden against one of the storied Celtics most successful and dominant teams of all time. No wonder the legend of Larry called number 23, "God disguised as Michael Jordan". Meanwhile music where treating the other M.J. like the second coming. After his 1979 breakout this guy was truly 'Off The Wall', not stopping 'till he got enough. Michael and Quincy Jones helped score the best and most successful pop album of all time in 'Thriller', while Jordan was making those on court. Only nine tracks, but with classic songs like 'Wanna Be Startin' Something', 'Beat It', 'Billie Jean', 'Human Nature' and that title track and THAT video who needs more with some of the biggest songs of all time. Even the crazy controversy surrounding his black to white skin colour change couldn't stop this megastar on 'Bad', as 'The Way You Make Me Feel', 'Liberian Girl', 'Another Part Of Me', 'Man In The Mirror', 'I Just Cant Stop Loving You', 'Smooth Criminal' and 'Leave Me Alone' added more greatest hits to the vault with another classic album for the record. As Jacko was leaning forward, Jordan was making everyone else lean back.
Then came the 1990's. This was their time. With sneakers and C.D.'s selling out of stores worldwide. Michael Jackson may have only released two albums this decade...but boy where they two albums. Besides 'Thriller' and 'Bad' where still selling like they came out yesterday. Still 'Dangerous' was the 'Jam'. Songs like 'Give In To Me', 'Who Is It', 'Why You Want To Trip On Me' and the socially conscious 'Heal The World' (a trait this singer is underrated for) where gravitating and groundbreaking. But it was his Statue Of Liberty moment to the Slash riff of that song where Michael proved he and we shouldn't care if you're 'Black and White' in the transitional video for the game changing, MTV age legend. Plus with Laker legend Magic Johnson in the video of 'Remember The Time' along with comedian Eddie Murphy dressed as phaeroes Michael showed he knew hoops like any other M.J. fan. Meanwhile Michael Jordan was taking the torch from Magic and his Showtime Lakers and switching the ball mid -air to score. Running through points totals and titles with a shrug as he stampeded the Chicago Bulls to their first championship and then three-peat. Ball in hand, victory cigar in the other. Smiling with legendary Zen coach Phil Jackson who was the Quincy Jones to his own thriller production. But then, following the tragic murder of his father, the greatest player to ever play basketball stepped away from the game at the peak of his powers. But then this is where 'History' would be made...'Past, Present and Future'. Screaming into a budget and record breaking video with Janet Jackson out of space one minute and walking around the streets of Rio with Spike Lee the next for 'We Don't Care About Us' Michael was back. Making records with everyone from the Notorious B.I.G. ('This Time Around') and even basketball player Shaquille O'Neal ('2 Bad'), who was probably just thankful another M.J. wasn't torturing him on court. Covering the Beatles ('Come Together') and signing R. Kelly songs ('You Are Not Alone) this historic feat had it all. Even a beautiful 'Stranger In Moscow' and a Christmas number one, record breaking, call to climate change 'Earth Song' (he told you). This album was bigger than the statue of him taken down London's River Thames in Tower Bridge separating promotion. Meanwhile in Chicago, just when they where thinking about erecting a classic statue in M.J.'s honour, Michael came back too, to the tune of three more championships shared with Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman and all capped off by one more last shot that was a true history, storybook ending.
Still their collective stories weren't without some dark chapters. From gambling addiction to allegations of sexual abuse that still hang like the worst cloud. Also it seemed like when the 90's came to a new millennium close so did the windows of their prime. Still in 2001, Michael Jordan came out of retirement again, this time for the Washington Wizards, donating his entire playing salary valiantly to the 9/11 relief fund. Around the same time Michael Jackson came back with the album 'Invincible', his worst selling one at that time proved not to live up to its name but had strong standouts like 'You Rock My World', 'Break Of Dawn' and 'Cry', just like the 'Blood On The Dancefloor' remix album had with the likes of 'Ghost' and 'Morphine'. Jordan wasn't so invincible either, showing the coming to 40 age and legs of a man heading towards one last retirement. But believe us for both of them the magic was still there in more than just a few spells of their trucks of the trade. Just like their inspiration is today to the new school of Kevin Durant's and Ne-Yo's. Its a legend and legacy that always lasts. Michael Jordan is still making basketball moves as the majority owner of the buzzing Charlotte Hornets ballclub and he's doing a Spalding job while even years after his tragic death Michael Jackson is proving that this isn't it. Another new album ('XSCAPE') came q this year and brought with it one of his newest and biggest hits from the demo floor with the dance floor fond 'Love Never Felt So Good' featuring another prodigy of his legacy, Justin Timberlake. All the inspiration and influence that still lasts beyond this day all cumulated in a classic collaboration of Aerosmith and Run-DMC, rock and rap, wall and barrier breaking standards to begin their 90's. As a basketball flew through a glass window into a factory where M.J. was dancing he threw it back, buildings across to a nearby gym for a no-look swish. Michael Jordan couldn't believe it, like the no-look back heel. Then as the two came together for some one-on-one, Jordan schooled and tricked Jackson on court for some fun and games before Michael showed the other how it was done on his wood deck, teaching him how to really 'Jam' and dance in this video. It's not too hard. Just look. As the two dance into the faded out shadows of this lights out number its a poignant moment for the two power players of a generation and game changing time. M.J. and Michael, the last names are of little consequence to the initials they engraved on their games. As these two silhouettes strut and slide across the floor, many will remember their master moves for many moons to come. Now that's the jam.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
The messiah has returned this Christmas. O.K. so that statement is more than a little sacrilegious, especially this season and for that I am sorry for I have sinned. But listening to true soul music and that of its proudest and most profoundly powerful performer is the closest you'll get these days to a Marvin Gaye like, religious experience. 14 years later and he returns. Out of nowhere and for good reason too. Barely any promotion in this digital age swiped through social media and internet. Just a little announcement, a few hours of trending and hash-tag debate and BANG! It was out there on iTunes and on physical shelves the next morning. Neo-soul is back. And we aren't talking about the commercial, cuddly cool of Ne-Yo either. We're talking about a man that stands above even his classic contemporaries Raphael Saadiq, Maxwell (even the long awaited, monumental return of 'BLACKsummers'night' hasn't moved mountains like this), Bilal (this is the spiritual, soul sister of 'Airtights Revenge'), Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu. We're talking about D'Angelo people. Mr. 'Brown Sugar'. The man who's decadent debut brought 'Jonz In My Bones', 'Me And Those Dreaming Eyes Of Mine', 'S###, Damn, Mother######", 'Crusin'', 'When We Get By', 'Lady' (I damn near just mentioned the whole album and should have) and more classics when his equally timeless follow-up 'Voodoo' came a half decade with 'One Mo Gin', 'Devils Pie', 'Chicken Grease' and of course 'Untitled (How Does It Feel)'. The infamous song whose video inspired (men around the globe to really go hard at the gym) and landslided women worldwide. I mean this guy was REALLY the man! Prince meets Marvin and has a quick jam with Sly & The Family Stone cool! I mean come on!
Even this guys duets where events. See 'Be Here' (with Saadiq), 'Break Ups To Make Ups' (Method Man), 'Ghetto Heaven' (Common) and of course 'Nothing Else Matters' (Lauryn Hill..now how about one more long overdue, comeback classic out of nowhere?). So to the man whose emphatic passion, and untamed lovejoy could be felt in the strongest dap he gave Chris Rock after he and Ray Ray brought the house down on his show; what happened? Time happened? Almost a decade and a half of it. Some in solitary, others marked in the public eye of scrutiny by troubles with substance and the law. But now that's all past with the promise of new material. Full-length recordings that looked like between collaborations on J Dilla and Q-Tip albums where never going to materialize even in the hope of 2012. Like his record with West coast legends Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre almost a decade ago in 2006 we where just going to 'Imagine' or pray for like another detox. Still now before 2014 and yet another year comes to a close, D'Angelo returns this Christmas like a true gift, bringing the power of the holy ghost with him. This is big right now! Bigger than the epic conclusion of 'The Hobbit' trilogy. Bigger than Kobe Bryant passing Michael Jordan in a milestone of all-time, NBA basketball points. Springsteen released an album in this maverick 12 months of music, but like the boss started it, the master finishes it. Ben Harper recorded a disc with his own mother. Hell the icon that is Prince even brought out two on the same damn day. Still, nothing comes close to this complete classic. Common put the city of Chicago on his back and conscious with his latest classic 'Nobody's Smiling' this year and now in what even after all this time seems like a rushed release in wake of the protests across America, D'Angelo does the same for culture and country. This 'Black Messiah' soul survivor is truly our saviour or at the very least the grace of our saving. Three albums, three perfect plays. Just hit that sideways triangle.
Hype?! What damn hype?! This inspired album is as incredible as all that train of search engine thought is influencing you to get on board with right now! Forget a sabbatical this music bakers new dozen is mathematics genius. An instrumental art form. Defying genres and stereotypes. Remember when John Lennon said "bring me a tuba and I'll get you something out of it"? Well this Beatle, rocking like a Rolling Stone tunes every instrument into his soundscape. Alinging with lead, military formation of the versatile, structured Vanguard this D'Angelo album is beyond angelic. And after all the criticism, trouble and infamous mug shot this 40 year old doesn't look or sound like he's aged a day. But this seasoned sound holds more time than fine wine. Lost in music's purple haze this Hendrix of 'Voodoo's' child brings the psycho, psychedelic funk. And you thought Bruno Mars had it down 'Uptown'. This guy is going all 'Back To The Future' parts 1 and 2. This sounds as classic as it does ahead of its time. Doc gave D the keys to the Delorean and the likes of Q-Tip and Questlove are riding production shotgun. From 'Aint That Easy' to 'Another Life' this is something else. Hard worked to what seems seamless. Woven in woodwind and jazz from 'Really Love' to 'Betray My Heart' there are love songs here that are as raw and real truthful as they are boldly and brutally beautiful. Add a dash of something that really needs to be said and seen on '1000 Deaths' ("I can't believe I can't get over my fear/they're gonna send me over the hill/ah the moment of truth is near") and 'The Charade'("All we wanted was a chance to talk/'Stead, we only got outlined in chalk") then you have an intoxicating tonic that needs the sweet and sour of lime to chase it. How about some 'Sugah Daddy', 'Till Its Gone' before we show you 'The Door'? Because here every deep and dynamic track is as unanimously unique as it is magically mesmerizing. There's even a perfect and poignant 'Prayer' for everyone to put their hands together to for. Soul music hasn't meant this much since acclaimed actor Idris Elba made an album about Mandela that even had more deeper meaning then his Madiba movie. Here too, D'Angelo does something for the people that even speaks louder volumes than the highest note of his trademark tone. After all this time we've waited for anxiously in anticipation like the one lost love that got away, its all good. Its a new day. Even if we wait in vain for the rest of our lives for more music from this man it'll all be worth it. Now how does THAT feel? Like Gods gift?! Amen! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Saturday, 13 December 2014
Zeroes no need to be Mellon collie. This Smashing Pumpkins album may not be the 'Infinite Sadness' or a 'Siamese Dream', but its not meant to be...and that's the point. Now you cant help but adore that. Especially since when these zealots tried to recapture that zeal with their new millennium album 'Zeitgeist' and big new songs like 'That's The Way (My Love Is)', fans turned sour despite a sweet album. They wanted more spice from these Pumpkins and boy has Billy given it to them. Releasing an epic 44 track album 'Teargarden By Kaleidyscope' since 2009 in a spectrum of musical colour. On Corgan's run how can you possibly hate on a band that's been releasing gems of classic tracks like 'Widow Wake My Mind' and 'A Song For A Sun' for years, for free? It then all came to a charging head with the outstanding 'Oceania' album of bold beauty. Now with another album set in the new year sights of 2015 these Pumpkins along with drumming, rock star legend Tommy Lee end 2014 with a new, nine track album that truly is smashing.
One more than the Foo Fighters eight track latest, this fellow nostalgic band refuses to live in the past like their Halloween decoration namesake, still sitting out on peoples front porches this holiday season rotting. In the year of albums from fellow 90's rock stars, Weezer and the Counting Crows that fans grew up with the Smashing Pumpkins release something truly monumental before next years 'Day For Night'. Billy, Tommy and this motley crew really get it together on this 'Elegy' and despite its mournful name, again this is no 'Mellon Collie' although it is still something akin to a religious experience during the glad tidings of this festive season. Deep, dark and decadent this delves to places these Pumpkins have never smashed through. It sounds as up to date with the times as it does the Pumpkins traditional tone of refusing to sell out for the masses. This time its added with the extra spice of refusing to cheapen themselves and become a product of their past too for fans that ignore the fact that bands and music has to grow and develop for it to really make noise. Besides Billy has been through all that adult-youth battlefield of angst and depression. Its time to share some happiness and make peace with the past. No matter how beautiful or brutal it has been.
From the colour of the stunning single 'Being Beige' to 'Tiberius' this album is captain to the James T. Even if Corgan had to trek amongst the stars of The Killers and Rage Against The Machine to rock with this album on tour. The rocking 'Anaise!' is truly an exclamation point like the all encompassing 'One and All' it only takes a few songs to unite fans, new and old alike that these new Pumpkins are back...or have well and truly just arrived. 'Run2me' is a deep devotion that even Prince would be proud of (and not just for its lack of spacing typography), as king of metal Corgan shows he can gravitate genres due to simple but stellar songwriting. 'Drum & Fife' also plays to the strengths of their Lee addition who plays the skins with Tommy gun ferocity behind the suited pin-stripes of blending into these throwback legends of Chicago. With the titled 'Monuments' the Windy City is storming back with one of their proudest sons rip roaring through on guitar. Stampeding like the hometown ballplaying Bulls. The 90's and Michael Jordan may be gone but one of the greatest rock bands of all-time are still rolling, despite the 'Anti-Hero' status, finishing up with this and the portrait of 'Dorian'. Still the picture of youth, but not afraid to age gracefully and wisely, Corgan and his clan remain relevant looking for better days and not just the best ones behind them. As day turns to night, next year the same 'Siamese' fans will be dreaming that the next release sounds this monumental. But in this kaleidyscope you can expect something else reflecting off this prism. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 23 November 2014
Parks & Rock.
On a collision course set for Manchester, England, if you where among the 'Hunting Party' for Linkin Park tickets last night then you where in for one hell of a show! Last night the rock kings from Agoura Hills, California showed the city of Northern Soul that real rock music didn't just lie in an Oasis of Brit-Pop bands. The guys rocked their very stadium sound to the core of the Phones 4U Arena. So much so that the reporters of the Manchester Evening News almost rewrote the concert halls name to its former and the one every fan keeps referring to it as. Touring the latest and one of their greatest albums 'The Hunting Party' (which is a perfect mix (or should we say hybrid) of their 'Hybrid Theory' and meteoric 'Meteroa' brilliant beginnings and their 'Minutes To Midnight', 'A Thousand Suns' and 'Living Things' latest lasting legacy) they furthered their legend of this generations greatness. And all their hits and cult classics from their catalog where on setlist note as they rip-roared through some of the biggest and boldest best rock songs of the last decade and a half. It's been a quick 15 years, but the band you've grown up with on their latest reanimated, mash-up rocked the foundations from the mosh-pit to the nose-bleeds, tearing the roof off.
After the John Steinbeck inspired Mice and Men turned the page on support acts, Linkin Park hit it out of there once they came on stage to perfect pyrotechnics and lasers science-fiction would be proud of. The band that goes through issue of politics and angst like they do six-strings and decks had every fan screaming for their towels, picks and drum-sticks. Starting out with the classic conviction of the new favorite 'Guilty All The Same', it was clear Bennington screaming from the chest, had not lost that great growl even after year after year and night after night of gigs and albums. With the victorious vocals of Mike Shinoda rapping in for legend Rakim as well, you just knew this co-lead singer had the bars and sense to go rap for rap, for 16 hours...all whilst handling an axe. After 'Given Up' it was time to give the day one fans what they've wanted to be hearing for years as the band ripped through everybody's ears with their 'Points Of Authority'. And when the fans wanted a hybrid of the bands original theories then they took every hand that was reaching to get on stage 'One Step Closer'. Then rocking through new tracks like 'Rebellion' and classics like 'Papercut' they stood and tore through big record after big record like they where trying to break it all down to the ground of the 'Wastelands' of a 'Castle Of Glass'. But then when they mixed and mashed up 'Leave Out All the Rest / Shadow of the Day / Iridescent', you don't need to worry about anything like journalistic integrity when you should simply state; "s### just got real"!
The fire only rose to the roof when they 'Burned It Down' with some of their newer, bigger numbers. Then Shinoda shone when he collided 'Skin to Bone ', the underrated classic 'Wretches and Kings' and Fort Minor's formidable 'Remember the Name' to a real terrific trilogy. Then with their latest 'Final Masquerade' the band showed they where anything but as fans didn't want this to be the last goodbye. And with the big three of 'Numb', 'Faint' and 'In The End' they show stopped with exactly that as Chester screamed into the microphone, jumped around the stage and threw himself into the crowd with reckless, nostalgia of all our youthful abandon. But that couldn't be it...right? Right?! As the hands of the standing room only, sold out arena came together to clap for an encore boy was it an epic one. 'Lost In The Echo' started it, until the whole band was 'Crawling' under the skin and seat of everyone in the house with new harmonious records that feel they've been in LP melody for years like 'Until It's Gone'. As these nu and rap metal, platinum Grammy winners tore through a terrific, two-hour set it made every wide-eyed aficionado see just how far they and we had come. As they poured and soared through the last let moments of 'Bleed It Out' they showed and proved in this show and tour that they where are and always will be the flesh and blood of modern rock music. Raging against their own machine and a system of a down, Linkin Park have claimed their place through decades of fans growing up from posters on the walls to tattoos on their arms. Forget about inking their reputation. They've just cemented their names in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, Now how about that for an encore? TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Hallelujah! Just like the young Michael Jackson sings to the girls in this video, we can rejoice in pure joy and fun again like the good ole days. As Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars go uptown with the funk, real music is back my friends, just like the seventies. All the way from Motown to Uptown Harlem.
'Ooh Wee' Mark Ronson is bringing it back with his new album coming next year, featuring everyone including the legend that is Stevie Wonder. But for now with a Little Stevie we have a new Uptown anthem with 'Uptown Funk' where Ronson and pop prince Bruno Mars take it out of this world as they "give it to ya". Following their collaborations on 'Moonshine', 'Gorilla' and the monster, mega hit 'Locked Out Of Heaven' the pair are on 'call the brigade' fire. So much so that Bruno boasts that he makes "a dragon want to retire". This song can even smoke Smaug. Mars attacks like '96!
Now if you thought the bass, synth and hook catchy throwback single was funkier fun than Chadwick Boseman playing James Brown then wait until you get on up in the video. Set on an uptown New York street of seventies style, Mars and his gang are fresher then the day Westside Story came out. Decked in a pink suit jacket like a Pimp Panther and Elvis walking in front of a stretch, white limo the only thing cooler than this video is the 'Smooth Criminal' footwork as Mars moves and shake writes a cheque whilst his right hand man tips his drink off. Only the new soul star and pop power player can make getting your hair permed in a salon as cool as getting your shoes shined by old men who cant help but sing "hot damn" along to funky number that's catchier then the common cold in flu season. This is the new, New Jack Swing, no diggity, no doubt. The chart topper is back to claim his billboard throne.
Don't believe him? Just watch!
Monday, 10 November 2014
Sonic The Rock God.
Drive down the highways of the Foo Fighters epic career on the rock road all your life and you'll come across many stops 'One By One'. To your left there's 'The Colour And The Shape' and to your right some 'Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace'. All 'In Your Honour' like the self-titled beginning and the "I'll be coming home next year" dedication of 'There Is Nothing Left To Lose'. Just right behind you you'll also see some 'Wasting Light' in the rearview as you rock along with your favourite bands greatest hits. But its hard to believe its been around three years since you made that stop on your trip. As a matter of fact its even harder to comprehend that you've been on this journey for 20 years now. A journey that started in the grunge Nirvana heaven that is Seattle, Washington. Now like a basketball Supersonic, there are some 'Sonic Highways' up ahead as the Foo Fighters arrive at their destination. Album number eight is an eight-track L.P. that road trips across eight locations across the United States as a different song is tuned into and recorded in each city. Making this latest collection a concept project worthy of an eight part HBO series special featuring legends like The Eagles and Dolly Parton.
New York City, Chicago, Illinois, Nashville, Tennessee, Washington D.C., Austin, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana, Los Angeles, California and of course Seattle continues the map of Dave Grohl and his bands lasting legacy. This eight for eight is a wonder. Just like the amazing artwork, bringing together all the locations this soars as high as the cities famous landmarks. Are you ready for the guided tour? The lead single and track produced with Rick Nielson takes us to the Windy City of Chicagoland and its a storm of a forecast first offering. Blowing in like a Dylan hurricane with rip roaring guitars, this classic, emphatic, fighting single of the Foo's type is no pretender. Then on a coach trip to the nations capital they lyrically detail the history of 'The City Beautiful', Washington D.C. with 'The Feat and Famine' from the political power to the poor poverty. Its a real and raw record for a band that are growing road and world weary and wise as Grohl growls, "They took your soul and they took you for fools/Took all the windows from prisons and schools/Now what's a poor man left to do?" Then leaving the home of the great Lincoln Memorial in D.C., the guys head for the Parthenon of similar structure as the next two records see the group looking for the music capital of the United States and the rest of the world. First in Nashville, Tennessee they find a musical 'Congregation' in the 'Music City' that saw Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton take the country music walk of fame. Soon you'll find the likes of Willie Nelson rocking to this one down the bars of 'Music Row'. Singing along to Dave's depth of "I’ve been throwing knives/To see just where they land/Now my world is in your hands" and the illuminating of the dark "The voice upon the stage/Is the heart inside a cage". Then the capital of live music has its say for the double dose of 'What Did I Do/God Is My Witness' as Austin, Texas proves the perfect home for the Foo's to earn their Wild West spurs. In America's real stage for music Grohl's group don't leave it without an epic encore.
Hollywood has to have its say however in a piece of music worthy of a movie. We're not done yet and a stopover in 'Hotel California' is required as Gary Clark Jnr takes them 'Outside' on some Los Angeles times that shine brighter than the boardwalk of Venice Beach in July. This one bowls you over and is worthy of its own walk of fame. Still more cities and their individual and inspiring cultures sing their say and right to be heard as the musical capital of the red white and blue and the trotting globe. How could you even do a record like this without the city of New Orleans, Louisiana of the Preservation Hall Jazz band for that matter? Hitting the French Quarter, taking it all Big Easy and spending and spinning a record like they've never played or we've never heard before, this piece of music parties like Madi Gras. This whole album in fact is like Jon Favreau's 'Chef' food trip across country, making some of the same stops too. Still, sounding good as that all-star affair movie looked, music is the flavour here though. Scintillating the senses, all the way home. Where 'Subterranean' finds them back in Seattle but with no homesick blues as Cobain's right hand man who recently mended things with Love, becomes reflective in retrospect never for a second forgetting where he came from. After checking in there's one more stop to make however as the Foo's head to the worlds most famous city, New York for the flowing 'I Am The River' that continues this journey, like the number eight after this track offering comes to a needle jumping close. Set to illuminate the Knick Mecca of Madison Square Garden like the square a few blocks away this closes a record that is a 'Times Like These' classic. This former college band (yep we're all getting on) continues this nostalgic trip across country, music and their rock and roll, Hall Of Fame career like a starter, main and dessert meal in the Hard Rock. You don't just have to savour however a catalogue collection and band that has become as fondly reminiscent as their Counting Crows and Weezer counterparts who have also released great albums this year. This eight track keeps turning like the long highway to ruin ahead. The Foo Fighters are forever. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Thursday, 30 October 2014
'1989'! Back then you where probably gearing up for the nineties golden era for music and movies by getting rid of that Bon Jovi perm and matching pants, all whilst convincing yourself and everyone around you that there will never be a film quite like 'Back To The Future' (there kind of isn't)! Taylor Swift? Well...she was born then! Feel old? Well you're about to feel even older! In her 24 years Taylor has moved swiftly along. She was released 5 albums and sold 65.5 million digital singles. Following her breakthrough 'Our Song' and self titled debut, the girl from Reading, Pennsylvania, has been adopted by the country 'Music City' of Nashville, Tennessee following her mega-multi albums 'Fearless' and 'Speak Now'. Still the country strong star saw 'Red' like an old Bruce Willis film two years ago and realised she had a platinum pop pedigree with her biggest hit and probably best high-school break-up song of all-time, 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' (admit it you've sang that one in the shower after the worlds worst date). Now following this, leaving Nashville and adopting as well as singing 'Welcome To New York City' (there's the new generations 'Empire State Of Mind' anthem) Swift is going all pop in her new album named after the year she was born.
Call her 2014 a rebirth! With her latest, great new single looking to eclipse her last Taylor is remade as she shows all the critics and exes she can 'Shake It Off' like Mariah Carey....and we all know how great that was for Mimi in her emancipation. Poking fun at every other pop star in a video even more popular than the billboard powerful song, country pop music has never been this tongue in cheek fun since Shania Twain felt like a woman. From this moment on too T.S. is the biggest country to chart crossover since S.T., impressing much. No wonder this girl can stand up to the powerful pop queen that is Katy Perry like an aspiring princess, but let that publicity drummed up cat fight go. When it comes to the art of pop, these girls are showing the genre giving way to rock and R&B is still alive. Just like when rappers rock, or movie star sing this bold new direction from Taylor is the pitch perfect making of 'Glee' like video and dancing performances and sectionals showcased songs. With a great year for guitar greats releasing albums from Bruce Springsteen to Prince and Ryan Adams to Maroon 5, this girl who wasn't even graduating when the youngest of these where great shows she can chart top them all.
Even the polaroid perfect album artwork shows this young starlet who is already making movies understands the power of nostalgia. Just like the stadium synth-pop number of 'Out Of The Woods' that sounds like she was a star in the making a few years before she was born. This is her new classic and with lasting lyrics its also in tune to why she's a part of the songwriting Hall Of Fame. The country one is bound to follow like Dolly and Cash. Even the 'Like A Prayer' era Madonna would put her hands together back then for a hit like this. Sure inbetween 'Style', 'Blank Space' and 'All You Had To Was Stay', there's a lot of synth similar songs, but when it all sounds this good it all just plays perfectly. Besides no one complains when a Black Keys album flows this fondly. Now they may be leather boot smooth, but Swift is geek cool. All the way to the white tape in the middle of the black rimmed glasses and in this age of Avengers what more fo you want? Vengeance is also on the cards as this young woman answers all and any hate, growing up and airing out any 'Bad Blood'. 'I Wish You Could' and 'How You Get The Girl' continues this diva, redefining trend. While the epic, evoking 'Wildest Dreams' could wake up some Beyonce numbers. After the signature Swift 'This Love' shows more 'Red' than Maroon 5 it all comes to a close on 'Clean'. Unless you go deluxe and fall down the 'New Romantics' and 'Wonderland' rabbit hole. It may just be worth the spare change for those 'Voice Memos'. It's no coincidence that Taylor Swift brings out a new album inspired by the pop music with more meaning from her birth year, like the Eurythmics, the same week as Annie Lennox brings out her new one. With 'Woods' lyrics like, "Remember when you hit the brakes too soon/twenty stitches in a hospital room" this girls bringing more meaning too, like the classic couplets, "I walked out, I said, I'm setting you free/But the monsters just turned out to be trees". In taking it back, Taylor moves forward and shows she can play pop like her string roots. Besides if Lionel Richie can go all Willie Nelson for an album, this little bit of rock and roll can go the other way round. Real pop music is back and it came from this country. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 27 October 2014
Lets Get Remarried.
Liars! Jagged Edge said they couldn't "take another heartbreak", but here they are again. It's time to renew the vows with the 'Lets Get Married' hit-men because this really is a remarkable remix. Following naming their last release after a track off their greatest album and Grammy winning 'Jagged Little Thrill' ('The Remedy'), the boys from the ATL go one better, getting back in the studio with hit Usher and Mariah Carey producer Jermaine Dupri for something truly 'So, So Def'. In this 'Blueprint' age of sequel albums in rap and R&B trying to reestablish a buzz, the band of brothers Jagged Edge, (who have nothing to do with a 1985, Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close Oscar winning movie) return in classic black and white, hallmark, nostalgia with 'J.E. Heartbreak 2', complete with 'Remedy' reminiscing 'Jagged Little' motorcycle jackets. The sequel L.P. to a multi-platinum, classic album from the salad days that laced us with 'Promises' and the 'Keys To The Range'. An album that gave J.E. the keys to the game along with fellow Atlanta, Georgia quartet, 112. A new album that follows classics like 'A Jagged Era' and 'Hard'. An album that also begins with actor and singer Tyrese Gibson talking about the state of R&B being "insecure" to camera flashing, Notorious 'To Live And Die In L.A.' B.I.G. style sampling openings. Tyrese and his Ginuwine and Tank, TGT supergroup may have come together and successfully brought real R&B back, but this Chris Brown, "ain't loyal" club age that is a long way from the magic of Motown misses Teddy Riley guys like Blackstreet and the Boyz to Men like J.E. who bridged this gap to the modern day mainstream of urban music. With 'Heartbreak 2' the heartbeat is back too. And the beat goes on...
14 years after the original, this eighth wonder of an album from the four is a personal, passion project from producer Jermaine Dupri as he welcomes us back to Atlanta with Georgia on his mind with this labour of love is the product of R&B's heart and soul. Serving as a twin to its first album, just like brothers Bryan and Brandon Casey and their Quick and Wingo partners this 'Heartbreak' is now double decadence at its beautiful ballad finest. The first album may have been foremost with tracks like 'Did She Say', 'He Cant Love You', 'What Ya Tryin' To Do' and 'Girl Is Mine' featuring Ja Rule, but the follow up is still formidable thanks to the fantastic fours songs and the hit making of Dupri and songwriter Bryan Michael-Cox. After offering us 'Hope' with the inspiration of their influence in the form of a buzz single and a black and white set of promo photos like their piano cover of the original-but taken to an airstrip-these boys are practically and literally taking off. As they sing "Hope she sees all this love that I’m filled with/All I wanna do is/Come up with this little plan/Put her hope back in a man" it's clear they are on the right flightplan. After a traditional 'J.E. Intro' comes 'Future', a perfect opener that engages itself with 'Lets Get Married' and makes a vow for the rest of the album and lives. The guys then get 'Familiar' with the clubs, as the 'Dance Floor' kings cut a rug in celebration to one of their greatest album achievements. Things get even realer and deeper on 'Things I Do For You' a characteristic devotion and 'Love Comes Down' which rises towards these power players peak.
The relationship between men and women that have been the all belts and braces foundation of this group, genre and even globe continues on the candle holding revelation 'It's Been You' that's hot like fire and the ode to every Juliett, 'Romeo' that can be found singing up to the balcony from the backyard. Singing "I wanna be your superman in everything you know" they soar with heroic, poetic lyrics like, "Like a wave on a summer day heat/Beauty cant describe/The things that I see". Where art thou? Where you at? These boys are back after the June-bug buzz that just seemed all too like a mid-Summers night dream. Their fans wishes have come true this fall however. Still it's not all peaches and cream for the only group out of the urban music scene in Atlanta (see Ludacris, T.I. and more kings of the south) that can hold room with 112. On 'Getting Over You' the boys move to the break-up ballad, lamenting a lost love that will stay with them for the rest of their lives like that one that got away for better or worse. Then the real 'Ready' is the remedy for raw tears. This all come to a crestfallen crescendo of classic couplets with the cool closers 'Make It Clear' and the confirmed 'No Half-Steppin'' as these Jagged boys get their Big Daddy Kane on as these smooth operators set it off with another victory. Time to throw the confetti and get this album ready for the favourites catalogue to have and to hold. R&B isn't dearly departed yet. So long as the 'Lets Get Married' heartbreakers are in harmonious matrimony with music. The definitive act of last decade may not be getting any younger but they're still doing it. So meet them at the altar in your white dress because they have more wedding songs for you and yours. Award proof, you think this is dedicated enough for another walk down the aisle? I do! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 5 October 2014
The 'Alright' Album.
O.K. Weezer fans don't you worry! Trust me! Or trust them, 'Everything Will Be Alright In The End'. I know you've grown up with this band and their college rock style. I have too. Through all the 'Greens' and 'Blues'...and even the 'Pinks'. More colours walking through than a 'Reservoir Dogs' line-up. All the way through high-school to your first 'real' job, whether dream or minimum wage. Now after all this time and even the recent 'Raditude' and 'Hurley' hot streak that seems like only a few years ago for these couple of pop classics...not around a half decade, here's betting you feel old. I know I do! It's crazy to think at a Jerry West 44, this Californian calcium kid Rivers Cuomo is just around a half decade from hitting middle-age. So don't worry about that impending 30 date. Plus with his forever young face and voice to this bands style and sound, they will always be two-strapping their way down school corridors all the way to the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame. Even if they are told to get off their skateboards in their Hurley t-shirts.
Wheels up! Straight from L.A.X. these Santa Monica friends are ready to take their 9 million and change domestic sales and add a few million more to their worldwide tour of 17 times platinum plus. With this one they could hit 20 and 10 like basketball big men. These alternative rockers are 'Back To The Shack' of summer scorching singles with the power pop chords to strike one with the charts. More 'Cleopatra' (getting deeper for a band and chart some thought a little too friendly as they lament lost love and life singing "All the wine we tasted, all the love we made/All the strumming lyres will decorate your grave") for the California girls than a Katy Perry smash, these dark horses are back. Galloping through a tunnel of live through their Springsteen like, horror movie sampling 'Aint Got Nobody' opening of raucous riffs on record that leads them down the road and back to the shack. Their first single home of their 1994 roots of surf wax America. The band whose last release was the 'Death To False Metal' previously cutting room floored B-Sides album then write a 'Eulogy For A Rock Band' that's an epic, epitaph engraving before their 'Lonely Girl' lament helps the first part of this album move us back to their music like the monster of their 'Where The Wild Things' like atmospheric artwork. Through a forest fire of blazing bandsmanship, Rivers runs through it with his trademark 'Peggy Sue' glasses bringing back the happy days like a classic video. It's time to knock the juke once again. You'll be sitting on this box all the way through as they rock October. This records going to spin and spin!
'I've Had It Up To Here' Cuomo sings on track five, but you won't when this album barely hits the halfway mark. 'The British Are Coming' so get your crumpets ready. As are 'Da Vinci' for a chord code of art and a 'Foolish Father' that addresses some personal problems and domestic issues that really hit home with one of the rawest and realest records to date for a public-eye reclusive singer. Singing "hard to throw stones/when criminals are victims" it makes a hard rock in a tougher place point like 'Go Away' and these angst ridden ruffs ridicule any criticism that this band still aren't on top of their game or pain. It's brave, bold and a story that needs to be told, showing there's more to this band than 'Hash Pipes' and 'Beverly Hills'. Then to conclude this collection like a Muse 'Exogenesis Symphony', Weezer close this colourful album out with a trilogy of their own in this three-movie deal Hollywood age. 'The Waste Land' of part I is inspired instrumental, whilst part II is an 'Anonymous' but amazing vocal. Still as this track trifecta brings both its end and the one of 'Everything Will Be Alright', the 'Part III, Return To Ithaka' leaves you with no words...literally. Just like 'Pinkerton' and 'Maladroit' this album is as unquestionably unique like the brilliant band themselves as it unravels before your ears like a sweater whose thread is pulled as you walk away. Destroying every other modern day nostalgia band that stand in their way, from Maroon 5 to the Counting Crows and even the Gaslight Anthem 2014 is the year of rock and the memories that like the past classics will want to make you go back there before we head down the Foo Fighters 'Sonic Highways'. From Beck to Ben Harper and Lenny Kravitz to two Prince and of course Ryan Adams and the boss Springsteen, these youth legends give an album of the year nominee with their legacies latest. These buddies of Holly find their 'Island In The Sun' again in the end. Say it 'aint so? These heartbreakers told you everything was going to be alright. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 3 October 2014
STOPWHATEVERYOUAREDOINGRIGHTNOW! It's time to drop the needle on why you love stuff like this! Nobody...NOBODY makes music like this! Nobody but the greatest purple icon to come out of the heart of Minnesota, and we're not talking about the former Minneapolis Lakers in Los Angeles. Sorry Kobe! Sorry Hollywood! This man isn't just Prince. He's the king...and he's about to make pop his throne. M.J. Rest peacefully Michael, the artist has got you. It's all symbolic. It's all art and in this age. It's official. Now what a 'Hit and Run' year its been for Prince in 2014 by royal appointment. The man who started Revolutions and New Power Generations with 'Purple Rain' and 'Diamonds & Pearls' has been a guerrilla with his tour-de-force concert setlist that has played and played to the polar opposite length of how quick it has sold out. The epic artist of 30 plus albums for 30 plus years, not even looking a quarter of his middle age has made cameos in 'New Girl' and records with Zooey Deschanel. This man in the name of woman has been known to do things in twos. From free albums in U.K. newspapers ('Planet Earth' and '20Ten') to his last dual releases ('Lotusflow3r' and 'MPLSound') that joined protege Bria Valente's 'Elixer'. Now after waiting all year for the new hotly anticipated and eagerly awaited new Prince album, just like waiting all day for a bus, TWO brand new Prince albums have come along all at once. So get your hands up!
New protégés come in the form of 3RDEYEGIRL. Third eye blinding vision of Hannah Ford, Donna Gratis and Ida Nielson. One revolution of a rocking band of new girl power for this generartion that don't give a funk anymore. These plectrums are going electric like Dylan after the harmonic with an audible sensory output that plugged into any amp will beat to the 808 all night and the day that proceeds the next one. From its 'WOW' beginning that rocks you to the symbols, to its 'PRETZELBODYLOGIC' that is as arty as the kalidascopic front cover. Two things are for sure here, Prince doesn't like gaps between his music, like his Musiq Soulchild song titles and this is an all capital affair. Just like 'WHITECAPS' or the title track of triumphant testament. From 'AINTTURNINROUND' to 'FIXURLIFEUP' there's some amazing musical advice to go with just the best axe work you've ever seen on wood since Fenders and Gibson's where carved out of trees. From the tongue-twisting word wizardy of 'BOYTROUBLE' to the musical carriage of the never ending marriage of 'STOPTHISTRAIN' even vocally these girls can hold a note next to the love symbol guitar of the God of funk-n-roll! Still things get real and a deal more definitive when Prince advices you to find 'ANOTHERLOVE' and gives one of his catalogues and best in years. Just like 'TICTACTOE', tit for tat this goes toe to toe with some of the artists best work, live or in the living colour of the studio. Whether sounding like the groups of Prince past (you could easily find some of this music on a 'Parade' down 'Alphabet St', 'Under The Cherry Moon') or out of this world like 'MARZ'.
It's the formidable, fond new favourite 'FUNKNROLL' and its brutally brilliant, grand guitar breaks that bridge the gap between these two albums to the "ooh wee" of their different, versatile versions. From now on Prince and his new band should finish one of their encores with this top ten number. If that's the case then he should definitely open the concerts of his latest tour with the 'ARTOFFICIALAGE' opener 'ARTOFFICIALCAGE' which unlocks a sample of every soulful and funk filled realm of rock and hip-hop history. As Prince announces to the world "welcome home class, you've come a long way", its clear the most satisfying sound you've heard in decades from any artist is now in sonic session. The atmospheric 'CLOUDS' continues this stratospheric journey before 'BREAKDOWN' literally does that in a form of a beautiful ballad that is as classic Prince as the hook to speakers chorus. 'THE GOLD STANDARD' continues his relationship with 'Gold Experience' record label Warner Brothers, before the pretty as a percussion perfect picture 'U KNOW' takes us somewhere else as Prince sings "for the record let me state I never a reason to break contractual endeavour or sever relationship with anyone I pleasure" without breath for these albums greatest lyrical moment in a songbook of tongue lashings lavishings. The only thing cooler is his classic response to Dave Chappelle's classic basketball skit, by having the comedians picture of his 'Purple Rain' Prince pancake offering on his 'BREAKFAST CAN WAIT' artwork. Save your fork, we ain't done yet! Dinner can also be put on hold to for the equally genius 'THIS COULD BE US' and 'WHAT IT FEELS LIKE'. Still before the perfect 'TIME' piece closing number things get truly inspired on the metallic beat and android theme of 'WAY BACK HOME' and some affirmed interludes of a nursing back to reality from a soulful friend with a British accent. Prince may have found three new girls, but its one from London, England who can't believe her luck stealing the show and being all over this album like the next big thing in music. She really is this though. Lianne La Havas deserves this. You may remember Prince literally announcing his guerilla, hit and run tour live from this girls living room. Now like Prince's good eye and sounding like the voice off the end of 'Gold' she's now a part of the New Power Generation. Welcome to the dawn! Still no one looks better from the 'Plectrum' to the 'Art' than Prince. It's official...its still his age. Long live Prince's day. The age of electrum. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
New York, New York! You're going to love this one. 'Cheek To Cheek' is so good you'll want to play it twice if you're feeling this. In the city that gets no sleep, neither will you. Grinning ear to ear and dancing 'till dawn. This Broadway success is about to take a trip to the Las Vegas strip for an extended residency. Yes, ladies and gentlemen the Rat Pack of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr may be gone, but we still have one boy kicking it his way. No not the young great Michael Buble, but the forever young legend Tony Bennett. The man that left his 'Heart In San Francisco', all 'Because Of You'. This man has been recording and recording and working and working and has been having a ball recentely dueting with everyone from Willie Nelson to Queen Latifah. The American legend even took it a little south last year for 'Viva Duets' to follow his American sequel pairing. Still keeping it fresco fresh, the recording artist who even paints in what spare time he has has got one more trick up his cuff-linked sleeve. After performing 'The Lady Is A Tramp', with Lady Gaga herself, the pairs perfect chemistry and classic reworking of a timeless gem itself has lead to a full album of American classics recorded in that standard styling. Yes, you read that right! Lady Gaga has done an album with Tony Bennett...and far from a 'Bad Romance' this is Ra, Ra great. After 'The Fame' and all the diamond, million selling success and celebrity exposure that came before it, this lady finally finds her true calling. It's almost like her previous, powerful pop career was really her 'Poker Face', because right now you have to hand it to her because she's holding all the cards. Gaga always felt like a throwback, even when she was stunning the fashion world and vegetarians alike. From her recent classic cameo appearance as a hallmark, throwback waitress to the 50's in the 'Sin City' sequel this is truly a dame to kill for..and with Tony she's about to shoot them down like Frankie's daughter.
And just you wait until you hear her rendition of 'Bang, Bang' that little Nancy turned into a classic, so much so that Tarantino picked it up for it's 'Kill Bill' resurgence. He, or his 'Sin' directing friend Robert Rodriguez need to hear this one. This baby shoots everyone down with her sensual and smouldering pistol shot that shows she has the blonde Sinatra boots made for walking all over this genres grand greatness. Bang, bang indeed! This cover of a classic is a modern day great worthy of the pasts legendary legacy like Norah Jones take on country's best Dolly Parton's 'Jolene'. A cover even better than Jack White's gender and genre crossover classic. As a matter of fact the strangest, crossover collaboration album since Miss Jones teamed up with Green Day's Billie-Joe Armstrong 'Forevery', (in an album covering the records from the brothers 'Songs Our Daddy Taught Us' album) is also the best. 'Anything Goes' on 'Cheek To Cheek' like these outstanding opening classics that make this duo a gala affair. Side to side this man and womans voices dance perfectly together cheek to cheek and even when Gaga goes it alone she proves she was either born in the wrong era, or like Buble she's going to bring it all back with her own solo streak. As she sings "Why the Gods above me, who must be in the know/Think so little of me, they allow you to go/When you're near, there's such an air of spring about it/I can hear a lark somewhere, begin to sing about it/There's no love song finer, but how strange the change from major to minor/Everytime we say goodbye" on Cole Porter's 'Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye' classic you can hear all the power and pain behind this puncuated number in the depth of her desperation. As a matter of fact it may be this album or her greatest career performance in a classic catalogue that is now as diligently diverse as it is digitally dynamic.
Mr. Bennett's here too though let's not forget. Just as prominent and the catalyst that makes this a charismatic, chemistry filled classic. On Sunny Skylar's 'Don't Wait Too Long', he doesn't waste a second in giving classic credit to the legend and on the formidable 'Firefly' explosion the epic talent shows the eager, energetic young Gaga just how its done. This 'Nature Boy' knows how to rework all the greats, showing Sammy, Dino and Frank that he can cement his legacy right next to those 'Four For Texas' boys and the King, Nat Cole with his ability to move with these modern changing iTune times, but also keep to the true testament of the traditions that came before he became a real Soprano. 'I Can't Give You Anything but Love', 'Goody Goody' and the foot stepping 'I Won't Dance' continues this two-stepping trend as this Tony shows his 'Sophisticated Lady' the 'Lush Life'. 'They All Laughed' sings the new chairman of the board, but nobody is going to chuckle at this classic peculiar but perfect pair. They say "there may be trouble ahead" but these two "face the music and dance" like neither of them have ever cut a rug before. This sweeps everything else off the table and gets really pretty as a picture on 'But Beautiful' as Bennett swings "Love is funny, or it's sad/Or it's quiet, or it's mad/It's a good thing or it's bad/But beautiful" for all the lovers. As they close classically they say it all with, 'It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)', proving that real record lie in the swinging good ole times of the past that we bring back today everytime we hear that old Broadway sound that can light up New York and the rest of the world watching even brighter than Times Square in New Year. It's a new day and Bennett and his young musical marriage date are here to stay tonight. Hear all about it from the Cher 'Moonstruck' newspaper headline cover to the broadsheet and billboard success. These two will be swinging and singing together forever 'Cheek To Cheek'! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Friday, 19 September 2014
Let rock rule! That's what Lenny Kravitz has been doing since the late eighties in the name of love. Despite once proclaiming 'Rock and Roll is Dead' heres a guy that's been spinning out the stone, jukebox classics since young fathers of todays' dads where young fathers. Sorry to make you feel old, but from 'Are You Gonna Go My Way' to 'Always On The Run', to 'It Ain't Over 'Till It's Over' and 'Heaven Help' to 'American Woman' and 'Fly Away' it's just crazy. Crazy to believe that the man behind all these monster truck, mega rock hits of Guns and Roses (and that reminds me countless hip-hop collaborations) is 50 when not only does he look, but he sounds forever young to boot. It's even harder to believe that it was almost just over three years ago that we reviewed his beautiful 'Black & White America' album (born from the 'Baptism' of that brilliant albums cutting room sessions) and said it was hard to believe that it had been over three years since his last album before THAT (the spiritual and soulful sequel to his lasting 'Let Love Rule' dynamic debut, the inspired and influential 'Its Time For A Love Revolution' redemption). Its crazy that it all seems like yesterday. Today this music man is catching fire in more ways than one, acting up amazingly in a pair of 'The Hunger Games' movies and a handful of Lee Daniels classics ('Precious' and 'The Butler'). Even his daughter Zoe (remember the sweet sentiment of 'Flowers For Zoe'?) is a 'First Class', 'X-Men' actress. Still inbetween all this extra curricula and parent/teacher night work the former Romeo Blue still take us to music school as he still has time to 'Strut'. A move that goes with 'Lenny', 'Circus', 'Mama Said' and the other '5' albums as yet another tote of classic Kravitz. Album number ten in the catalogue looks to take him back to that same numerical top countdown.
It all starts with some 'Sex' though and a familiar "sexy, sexy," sample his friends Jay-Z and Pharrell changed clothes with. Now what more do you expect from a man that wrote an anthem for the NBA basketball league called 'Come On and Get It'? Still the Thicke of todays misogynistic music should not blur lines. This attractive number and second single is anything but seedy. Still from the barrell of the gun to the heart of matters its got nothing on the 'Chamber' music and its vivid, fall, winter warmer video. "You look through me like an open door/Do I exist to you anymore/'Cause when I'm talking to you there's someone else that you're hearing" croons Kravitz between cigarettes and chess references , proving in the bitterness of beauty turning to betrayal the first cut (or single for this matter) is the deepest and darkest. Checkmate! 'Strut' steps even sexier on 'Dirty White Boots' that where made for walking like a blonde Sinatra. "Come up to my room/No matter the weather/Drop the window shade/And take off your sweater/You are all I need/To make me feel better/Let your hair down/And give me that leather" is more classic Lenny in the sense that he can pull off lacing his words with lust when it is done with the justification of love over lingerie. Then the maids favourite from Manhattan does what a lot of artists, especially rock stars from this area, its five boroughs and beyond do and names a song after his hometown. Still the empire state of minds 'New York City' will one day rock M.S.G. as the type of anthem the likes of U2 could only dream of taking a bite out of the Big Apple for. And you thought you had to release free albums to keep rock alive in this iTune age. "Broadway lights and taxi cabs/Everybody's moving fast/Uptown, downtown, what's your thing/She can take what she can bring" sings Kravitz about the other woman that raised him apart from his 'Jeffersons' mother. The other woman being the city of N.Y.C. "She's a queen that stands her ground/Nobody can take her down" he adds in fitting testimony and tribute at this time of year all these years later.
'The Pleasure and Pain' delves deeper into both sides of the love/hate coin of the ying and yang of relationships. Its another outstanding ode 'Again' from the multiple million selling Grammy winner who will always 'Stand By My Woman'. The 'Strut' title-track keeps stepping in an album that moves and shakes across the genres like the classic career of the soulful rock God. Then things get real beauty and the beast on the formidable 'Frankenstein' with the tongue lashing lyrics "Sister, I need love/You say that I'm your baby/But I feel like Frankenstein/I need love", before 'She's A Beast' continues this monster mash up. The brilliant 'Believe' singer keeps the faith on the "hey",old classic rock puncuation of 'I'm A Believer' (much like his last album 'Stand'), before more wonder comes with a new 'Happy Birthday' dedication for every Lenny lover over the next 365 days for the rest of their lives. If that wasn't enough to tide you over then love continues to rule on the beautiful ballad of devoted dedication on album standout and new catalogue stand-alone, 'I Never Want To Let You Down'. Anyone that's truly been in love knows you can playlist file this one next to soul soldier Tank's 'Hope This Makes You Love Me' in real men baring genuine soul. With this and some Miracles classic cover closing on 'Ooh Baby, Baby' (which was recentely given the 'Soul' Seal of approval) even have the added bonus of 'It Wont Feel The Same' and 'Lift Me Out My Head' as the perfect pair, post album puncuation. A playlist that's all repeat and no skip. This new record is 'Elutheria' heaven sent. Love still rules for Lenny on his new album on his new Roxie Records label in honour of his mother. Catching fire off Academy actress co-star, Jennifer Lawrence for this records inspiration, Cinna fashions a new grand design for women. Right now even with a rock age to this season with Ryan Adams, Maroon 5, Counting Crows and the Gaslight Anthem, nothing looks or sounds as good as Kravitz. Now shake what the Jefferson's gave you and 'Strut'! TIM DAVID HARVEY
Thursday, 11 September 2014
Punk, Drunk, Luck.
One year before this writer was born came the year that inspired Ryan Adams' latest record in 2014, as this writer on the precipice of 30 looks up to a musical inspiration right at the door of 40. Still we're not talking about 'Ryan Adams' the new self titled classic from the acclaimed American singer/songwriter who 14 years into his career has released his 14th album. As incredible as that is and its inspired 'Gimme Something Good' single and 'Feels Like Fire' song, we're actually talking about '1984'. '1984' being the name of his limited edition vinyl release, a week teasing prior that felt like record store day. Following in the legendary legacy steps of Springsteen whose January 'High Hopes' release was followed by an 'American Beauty' vinyl extended play, Ryan even sounds like the boss owning a myriad of vocal styles and impressions. This is because '1984' is an ode to that years time of punk music and the Whiskeytown country star that's even released a heavy metal album ('Orion') shows he has as many punk stylings as crossover alt-pop ones. Like a Sex Pistol bullet to the brain this half hour record splits your head in two. But never mind that bollocks, this album is just nuts! As much acclaim as his new full length L.P. is getting, some fan purists see this one as just as great...if not better. It's certainly a different animal, razor sharp and quick with tracks puncuated by screaming and broken glass. 'When The Summer Ends' this Pax Am 7 inch series will still be playing to the fall acoustic, 'Ashes and Fire' of Winter. It's just that hardcore. When the needle drops to the groove this record scratches the soul of the stereo. A 'Bones and Ash' concise classic 'Over and Over', '1984' just may be the moment of this young legends conception. Do you feel it? This punk is truly lucky. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Tuesday, 2 September 2014
After The Fire
$100,000! That's how much it costs to record a Ryan Adams album that no one gets to hear these days. Still there is life after debt...and even 'Life After Deaf' (see the brilliant box-set). After coming from the 'Ashes and Fire' of 2011 (where does the time go?) and recovering from Ménière's disease, Ryan is back with his self-titled album that follows a cutting room floor scrapped one. One that looks like a debut, but deeper and darker feels more like his most personal project to date. On the wax heels of his 7 inch, E.P. record '1984' paying punk homage to 45's of that year in this 2014, Adams gives us another apple of his creative eye on the eve of the big, fall music release schedule that gets set to replace the Summer movie blockbuster season for billboard success. The needle on your vinyl player is ready to drop onto the scratches of a new black wheel classic as Ryan replaces the amazing acoustics (and Norah Jones, she's busy working with an ex-Cardinal for the foolish fun of Puss N Boots) for some epic, eclectic electric, as the man-who along with Ben Harper shows he's the closest thing to Springsteen and Dylan in modern, mainstream music today -makes something that in more ways than one is distinctively him. From the stunning L.P. perfect lead single 'Gimme Something Good', Ryan has done just that with a song that is not only one of his best in years but one of the greatest hits of his career. The 'Heartbreaker' who has struck 'Gold' with everyone from Whiskeytown to the Cardinals gives us his 14th album, 14 years into his career in 2014. Judging from this 2016 is going to sound sweet.
One year off 40 the man who has wrote books ('Hello Sunshine') and heavy metal albums ('Orion') is truly, finally feeling like himself. Happily married to post, pop princess Mandy Moore and releasing some of the best records he's ever cut. You can hear just why "as the Autumn leaves begin to fall" on 'Kim' an ode to his muse as strong as Eminem's bitter love for his lady of the same name. 'Cutting her name into a wall with a key' and seeing who is only described as "him", 'Kim' is a longing lament of a relationships Summer brightness turning into Winter blues. There's more 'Trouble' and awesome slow licked and guitar soaked odes as Ryan sings "another Summer where the palms are the colour of doom/put my hand through the mirror let the water run". A gloomy mood has never sounded so California cool. "All these things keep running through my mind/everything and everyone I've left behind" considers Adams on his insightfuly introspective 'Am I Safe' where our stellar singer/songwriter looks back and forward at his own decency and mortality. This isn't pop music. It's purist music. Sorry Miley. Miss Moore's man gets to work on 'My Wrecking Ball' leaving a pile of destruction in his wake and the best song with those swinging, destructive concrete metaphors since Springsteen turned one written in honour of the collapsing of the New York Giants stadium into an amazing album. With "nothing much left in the tank" and love lessons learned, Ryan gives us one singing "all the walls we build must come down". Time to get swinging!
They say "one mans coffee is another mans whiskey" and while the majority of Ryan's contemporaries frequent coffee houses, Adams latest music is tailored for two more stronger shots. It's the barstool blues, or the love on the rocks with a twist that keeps this sobering singer honest. 'Stay With Me' is a plea in that after hours direction, from the fire of an argument to the ice in a glass. The haunting, instrumental begins of 'Shadows' hammers this home further with heavy guitar chords that knock like a moody morning, hangover headache. The singer that rose from his last album 'Ashes', describes something that 'Feels Like Fire' in epic effervescence engaging through your earphones. Burning like vodka brightly before 'I Just Might' wakes up and smells some coffee. Still Adams didn't write all this depth and distinction for people to just ignore in the faded background over gossip and latte's. 'Tired Of Giving Up' heres a guy sick to his stomach of just taking the easy route to our excuses. Giving up on giving up? It's as inspired as it is ironic and as we join him on the classic closer 'Lets Go' we would all be the wise to singing along to his word like a gospel choir. As he sings "All my life/been shaking/wanting something/holding everything I have like it was broken" on his lead strong, lead single he's going to smash records with this one as he gives us something good. Even Jack White's eclectic 'Lazaretto' from Third Man in Nashville cant come as close to this Pax Am country star who now has American music in the heartland palm of his pick. With Maroon 5 and Counting Crows introducing the autumn of bands this man goes it alone and joins Harper in Springsteen with another classic for a catalogue of that credit chasing Dylan's songbook. Going it all alone, we don't know how much 'Ryan Adams' cost or was afforded to by this one mans pocket, but we can tell you it's worth every penny. It's worth 'Gold'! It's worth a million! TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Monday, 1 September 2014
Adam In Wonderland.
September and everything after. In this moment its been a long time since Adam Duritz introduced himself by singing "Step out the front door like a ghost/into the fog where no one notices/the contrast of white on white" over the beautifully fading in acoustic guitars to the beginning of the 'August' debut classic. The count and his crows have been 'Round Here' for a long time but it seems like they've been M.I.A. for even longer. Did someone stone the crows? Did Adam Duritz shave off his legendary beard and dreads and become Adam Richman of 'Man Versus Food' fame? There's more at stake here for a band who released a beautiful barrage of jams from 'Recovering The Satellites' to 'This Desert Life' before disappearing for a minute and coming back with the American classic 'Hard Candy' and its Vanessa Carlton assisted Joni Mitchell covered classic single 'Big Yellow Taxi'. Another long layover happened and then the 'Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings' double brought them back only to lead to their longest hiatus of original music (save the covers album 'Underwater Sunshine' and some long live takes) until now. Now the Crows fly again as the longtime fans count the tracks and lucky stars. Nine in total. Or eleven if you count the deluxe demos. With 'Somewhere Under Wonderland' Adam tumbles down the rabbit hole again with his Mad Hatter, stream of consciousness, storytelling lyrics and his Cheshire cat charm.
They're not in Kansas anymore. Or should we say California. As these Berkeley boys are back in the world. By way of 'Palisades Park' the epic, 8 minute long lead song and single. Now who says you cant make radio records that clock in it around 10 minutes anymore in this day and age. The man who once told 'Mr. Jones' he wanted "to be Bob Dylan' channels his inner storytelling 'Like A Rolling Stone'. Quoteables like "the future sounds so crazy/we've all heard that song before", "I used to dream in the dark, in Palisades Park/Up over the cliffs and down among the spark/It's a long life full of long nights", "you walked into the bar/like a Saturday star" and "Have you been aching with trust or just/Have you been waking yourself with lust" this is a novel of melody making ideas. Duritz shows his Van Morrison, R.E.M. inspirations once again that he is his own legend with a legacy to make. This is set in stone further with the 'Earthquake Driver' that further breaks down any almost decade long barriers. Singing "I just don't wanna go home" into a hallmark harmony its clear to hear Duritz wants to hit the road again via a musical tour. 'Dislocation' continues this delightful disconnect as this independent since 2009 band show after all this time formed since 1991 they are still the same guys with the same sound. Give or take a few band members. The sweet sway of 'God Of Ocean Rides' continues the spirit of a band that has moved with the times as "Jesus spins the world around". As Adam tells his eve "and I know I said I didn't love you/ I may just try again tonight" we see that like everything in a loved life even lamenting loss, there's always another chance to make it right.
That's a trite but too true theme for a band that have returned after so long to find as much dust as welcome mats. Still once they get going that old Counting sound is as timeless as it is nostalgic. The "da, duh, da, da, duh's " of 'Scarecrow' will keep anyone but these Crows themselves at bay. These harmonies heard here are so classic they even sound older than this bands original stuff as they recover some satellites and airwaves. The Wu Tang Clan of rock are as dynamic as they are disjointed and as focussed musically as they are all over the place on your stereo. A jam band at it's truest, these songs are your raspberry conserve. Even the great D.M.B. has to C.C. the Crows, a real band of the 90's that still tells and takes tales that are anything but too tall in this electronic age. 'Elvis Went To Hollywood' is a stereotypical bur stereo worthy name and sound of this bands hallmark type, but this group has more Grace for this land before they leave this building thank you very much. There's the illuminating 'Cover Up The Sun' that reveals more behind and under the weather. While 'John Appleseed's Lament' is a lyrical lavishing of storytelling lore. Duritz sings "you've decided that you can't hide inside your mind/provide the slide to get you out", the consciousness from the apple of Adam's mind streams so folk soulfully across the soundscape. "The worst part of a good day is slipping away" laments this bands lead on the saved best and darkest for last 'Possibility Days' as he sings " I got to get out of L.A." whilst calling out an Incubus warning of not letting life pass you by in all its 24/7 opportunity. It's an interesting notion for a band that doesn't reach ten new tracks after almost that many years out of the scene. Despite the delightful demos the possibilities for a band whose last album was a double is endless. We just hope this band lasts for more days somewhere in this world of wonder. We've always counted on the crows to come back again. Anything else would be one for sorrow. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
Sunday, 31 August 2014
Maps and Legends.
Marooned with musical mediocrity by album five. That was the threat to Adam Levine's band of Kara's Flower brothers in todays pop culture. 'This Love' or 'She Will Be Loved', those decade and change old classic 'Songs About Jane' could only take the boys so radio rotating rapidly far. Especially after their five year hiatus later 'It Won't Be Soon Before Long' sophomore slumping, but still sweet sounding follow up album hit the skids. Album number three, 'Hands All Over' pulled them back, especially when it was restocked with their biggest to date, monster, annoyingly catchy single 'Moves Like Jagger'. Then their last album, the tongue-in-cheek titled 'Overexposed' dialled up some more hits for the band routing for change with the Wiz Khalifa call and rap response collect, 'Payphone'. Still there still felt like there was something missing for a Police/Prince hybrid band that looked to change the face and ears of a watered down pop industry before they became a little diluted themselves, invoking a feeling of drinking cordial after mouthwash. It seemed like one day these guys where winning Grammy's and writing stellar songs for Spider-Man soundtracks (the wonderful 'Woman') and the next they where replaced like Tobey Maguire for something more 'amazing' in this app, reboot demand age. Still throughout all this and a dirty laundry list of b-sides and soundtrack spots, Adam and his apples have not lost their bite to give up, still striving and surviving like these September Summer serenades. Now Maroon V go for their fifth Roman numeral album (sixth if you count their original named Kara's Flowers 'Fourth World' album...and so you should). That's the relevant title. You didn't think Levine was displaying his V-card did you? This guy makes Mayer look like a monk.
The opening journey of 'Maps' leads this band to their latest chart destination of billboard top spots with repeated, radio airplay. Although on the face of it so radio friendly its meekly sedate, this new big hit gets better over time with its audience sinker hook and bottom line. Add this as another melodic, pop magic sleeper that finds its home on playlists and mixtapes from dorms to office cubicles for an audience that's grown with this band. The new blonde bomber Levine's ability to write a classic chorus and even save a meandering one with a few key changes in the harmony of a few magic moments make him a songwriting game changer. He knows how to write as many hits as his Voice co-judge Pharrell Williams of 'Happy', every other song on the radio after fame. As a matter of fact there's probably a good half dozen picks here that contestants will use as their face-song audition for more than just the curried favour of obligation. There's the pop predator 'Animals' and the sure fire pop pouting punch of 'Unkiss Me' and its "if you respect me/dont protect me" lyrics. Six songs none the richer there's also the soundtrack score scorching of the electropop effervescent 'It Was Always You' and the sweet 'Sugar' that is a saccarine charm of catchiness. Still it's the standout 'Leaving California' that shows this band is best coast, Los Angeles, summertime pure more than their neon, desert, Killer artwork. As Levine laments "Even if the sun crashes up to us/I won't let go, I won't let go/And I can be your light/stay with me tonight" he lays down their best in years. This is as California as white tee's and Levis. This is a song that will be the soundtrack accompaniment to graduating kids hitting the road out of the sunshine state everywhere. With more oohs to ahh at this is a song in the classic album track 'Beautiful Goodbye', 'Just A Feeling' vain this will be set to repeat as much as other tracks are set to skip. This writer himself knowing the bittersweet memory of lamenting a lost love to the playing of 'Goodnight, Goodnight' back in the 2007, 'It Wont Be Soon Before Long' time.
Still this album like the three that preceded it and followed Jane suffers from starting strong before dragging out all too long. This is something that will one day translate into the perfect playlist for a greatest hits shuffle, but as of right now is an issue that is crucial in addressing like out of town invoices as they map their own legacy. Especially if these guys in this modern day, cherry picking digital age want to make the distinguishable difference between a download or purchase. Its not that the latter portion of this project is bad. As a matter of fact for all their tracks and criticisms I couldn't name you a 'bad' M5 record. It's just that its simply filler in comparison to the formidable opening. 'In Your Pocket' could be a spiritual sequel to 'Payphone' but they have a better song in their back one. 'New Love' gets the idea and 'Coming Back For You' is coloured in a trademark shade of off-red so much so that you could find it on any of the 5 Maroon albums. Although almost like a parody name of one of this bands songs 'Feelings' offers more sensation, before the closer 'My Heart Is Open' leaves no room for doubt thanks to a welcome hollaback from pops number one girl Gwen Stefani for a duet that matches the Christina collaboration diva for better. A V times two of top ten tracks seems just as right as the third bowl of porridge but some deluxe offerings will be a cosy bed for the die-hards but a too much weight, broken chair to the more casual observers and listeners. Still 'Shoot Love' has more heart from the hip, whilst Adam Levine's 'Lost Stars' is as welcome as the return of old friend and Maroon lifer Jesse Carmichael to the band. Still it's the 'Sex and Candy' of a swansong that matches the promising pedal start of this album. If the band can buff the fluff they'll be dusting off classic records to come that will make them more than just mature pop saviours of a Savage Garden of true, mad depth in a diluted, drowning industry of downloads but a band that will be as remembered as much as Jane in years time. Time to add a compass to the map. TIM DAVID HARVEY
Sunday, 17 August 2014
Everything Is Awesome.
Forget out of this world. 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' is almost out this Marvel universe. The classic movie in arguably the comic book, formidable franchises greatest year (see the perfect playlist of 'Captain America-The Winter Soldier', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past') is the best and must fun film of a monster 'Godzilla' and 'Planet Of The Apes' 2014. Now every hero deserves a soundtrack...otherwise what else is Starlord going to strut too? How about the "ooga-chaka's" of Blue Swede with this films signature song that has had us 'Hooked On A Feeling' all year since the teaser trailer? Way before Captain America was taken off ice for 'The Winter Soldier' and even before Chris Pratt built the blocks of his superstar showdown in 'The LEGO Movie'. The movie is magic in its own in Marvel's age of Avengers but it does owe something to this song. Just like this song and the rest of the soundtracks nostalgic homage owes something to these Galaxy Guardians in bringing their classic hallmark musical legend to the modern mainstream, who needs something between all that Bieber and bull####! Everyone's new favourite team of avenging superheroes, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, Rocket the racoon and Groot the talking the tree that sounds a lot like Vin Diesel have something special for their spaceships stereo and those long road trips between planets.
It all comes from the foam and plastic of Starlord's old Walkman and 90's headphones that has another moral music message in the fact that even in this mp3, digital age of iTune and Spotify playlists that there is something pure in the simple but classic form of what constitutes an "actual" mixtape. So like an old rap D.J. of yester-decades gone would say, 'get your tape decks ready'. Ready with your hand on your ghetto blasters, too tempting to not touch, big, red button to record these radio hits before the pesky D.J. talks all over the end of your favourite song and ruins it (I see you Tim Westwood, literally drop the bombs). Forget streaming, an auxillary line-out, forget even C.D's because it's time to throw it back to the black cassettes with their white label that where only annoying the moment their reels got caught in your stereos heads and you had to work with more screwdrivers than a bartender. This is more than a soundtrack. We have an 'Awesome Mix, Vol 1' courtesy of Mrs. Quill, Starlords mum, a classic soundscape of pop music history, so much so that it has topped the billboard 200 charts, the first time a soundtrack of non-original material has done so. Now what did we tell you about what the mainstream needed? Sounds like dedicated justice to the speakers from peoples living rooms to their car pools...trust me you're going to want a lift. This is the compilation album that because of the film has its own originality to its greatest hits nature. Even in the downloading depression of music this is one playlist that will be rocking and rolling to the 'Age Of Ultron'.
Even Norman Greenbaum's 'Spirit In The Sky' that has been used in every other movie you've seen with its iconic and inspired "when I die and they lay me to rest/gonna go to the place that's the best/when they lay me down to die/going up to the spirit in the sky" lyrics is here! This magic hour song may not have been in the film like it should, but it gave new life to the second trailer and in an internet age hungry for more trailers of goosebump gratifying, evoking excitement despite the spoilers. This makes for one of cinemas best commercials. We have the rocking and blowing Raspeberries who 'Go All The Way' and one of the galaxies Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie's boldest and best ('Moonage Daydream') in a labrynth of legendary legacy. Then there's a timeless love song classic in Elvin Bishop's 'Fooled Around and Fell In Love' which there is no doubt everyone can find rooting through their parents vinyl collection just like the opposite, atmospheric side of that heart and soul classic coin in 'I'm Not In Love' by 10cc that hasn't sounded this good today since Huey Morgan of the Fun Lovin' Criminals covered it with playful blues brooding. Who says big boys don't cry? Also what's a rock and roll soundtrack without the Jackson 5? The classic 'I Want You Back' has a new legendary legacy in the films funniest scene. Mike would have loved to see this. From the strut your stuff opening of Redbone's rocking 'Come and Get Your Love' to the coolest explosion of head nodding guitar on The Runaways classic 'Cherry Bomb', hello daddy, hello mum we sure do love the music you used to listen to. So much so that we don't want this press play and then repeat roll-call of rock of ages to stop. Hoping there's another classic that will make our faces fix in an instant recognition of pure joy every time every track kicks in. Especially "if you like Pina Colada's and getting caught in the rain" like Rupert Holmes' 'Escape' or the epic dance off that The Five Stairsteps 'O-O-H Child' can set off. Things feel easier listening to this epic mix that ends poignantly on the ultimate collaborators Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 'Aint No Mountain High Enough'. Listen baby sure we cant wait for the sequel of 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' but its the 'Awesome Mix, Vol 2' that we are really listening out for. Preach! Like Rocket would say..."oooh yeah"! TIM DAVID HARVEY
New Jersey Devils.
Hurting for some new music? Then its time to get some more anthems ignited by Gaslight. The Springsteen sons of New Jersey will never leave their town for the bright lights, big city of New York like the Brooklyn Nets. Leading man and iconic singer of a new, influential generation Brian Fallon is to late night N.J. bars what Jimmy Fallon is to late night, N.Y.C. T.V. Now it's time for some thank you notes. Following their cult 'B-Sides' greatest hits we have the return of that ''59 Sound'. The Jersey boys who reinvented 'American Slang' and then engraved it in their 'Handwritten' John Hancock that John Lee Hooker would be proud of are back with their fifth season. Forget 'got milk', it's time to 'Get Hurt' with their new upside down heart artwork, red and white with soulful blue album. This is one straight shot of whiskey that will have you begging for a chaser. As Brian inks new songwriting engravings like the artwork on his sleeves he may as well have a packet of smokes up those short shirt shoulders. This is the album where the boys come into their own. With the bosses blessing and high hopes in their classic car they muscle the steering wheel to a new direction and its pure American beauty in all its raw and real like that girl sitting atop of the new Springsteen vinyl.
Still that's enough Bruce. Right now its all about Brian and his boys. You can hear that from the classic drum roll and rip roaring guitar opening of 'Stay Vicious' that is the hallmark harder edge of this band but dialled up to 11. As Fallon sings "I feel just like a murderer", he goes all Sid Vicious in a punk explosion that shoots like a Sex Pistol as he sings "and I still love rock and roll/and I'll still call somebody baby", it's clear its still Brian even with some dynamic distortion on his distinctive drawl. It's just a new era for this band of today that show they're no longer the new generation but what's happening right now. Inspired by the 'No Code' of legendary, cult rockers Pearl Jam and recorded partly in the country of America's musical home in Nashville, this groundbreaking record for the band is a mix of rock and rolls greatest genres. Still even the darker and more grunge it gets the boys still keep it on the headlights illumination of the road of America's heartland. You can hear that undeniably on the impossible to resist hook of the single sure '1,000 Years' or the hidden atmospheric beauty and depth of the title track that is then followed by the beautifully wrote and beat 'Stray Paper' and the 'Helter Skeleton' which is the Beatles bones of a new fab four...or even a fantastic one in this Marvel comic-book age. The boys stretch their sound further 'Underneath The Ground' as Fallon sings "That's enough, my man, it's time to clap our hands/Call the papers up tomorrow, say we did the best we can/Cause our doctor's in the hospital, the poet just laid down/There's one good man I know, and he can't talk right now."
"Should I take your red, blues and cocaine" the singer continues and asks on the lead, lead strong single 'Rollin and Tumblin'' that's bound to strike a chord with Laurence Fishburne's Morpheus from 'The Matrix'. After the rocking 'Red Violins' play things get real classic on 'Selected Poems' where the seriously underrated and sensational songwriter waxes poetry on vinyl while lamenting with introspection that "nothing stays the same". 'Aint That A Shame' indeed that continues this creative collections new direction before the soul-wrenchingly beautiful 'Break Your Heart' that isn't just among this band or the state of New Jerseys best, but one of modern day rocks most inspired and deep in a modern day industry desperately in need of both characteristics in the charts. As the man who recently went through some personal powerful problems sings "if you knew how I loved you/if I showed you my scars/if I played you my favourite song/lying here in the dark" you can almost here the tears. This is a real man and a real band exposing his soul in a day and age where most young men would feel ashamed to do so. Those in need of some catharsis from the old healer of music may find solace in this,even if it takes us to slower 'Dark Places' before waking and lifting us up with some upbeat rocking hooks. There is 'Sweet Morphine' over sweet sounds that any legendary rockers would be proud of from these young legacy makers. From Springsteen to Dylan you can bet the greats will be tuning this into the airwaves of their radios as they hit the highways. From the 'Nebraska' and Dylan harmonica of 'Mama's Boys' all the way to the haunting 'Halloween'. This fall has got its uprising album earlier than Christmas to alleviate any seasonal change or Del Ray summertime sadness. The record may have changed but the band stay the same and continues their last two album tradition of finishing strong on a slow but amazingly atmospheric cut that shows the last is the deepest. 'Have Mercy' follows 'Slang's' 'We Did It When We Where Young' and 'Handwritten's' 'National Anthem' of Gaslight calling for "the holy ghost" and all the soulful spirit of four young boys from Jersey who made it as men. Amen! TIM DAVID HARVEY